While there are some truly crazy effects pedals you can get, sometimes you just need something more subtle to add to your sound.
Effects like distortion and overdrive are fairly easy to look for, you simply need to have a rough idea of what you’re looking for in terms of the actual sound.
Reverb, on the other hand, is slightly more complicated.
That’s exactly why I’ve decided to address this topic in a simple, yet in-depth manner, going over the specs and features that make a reverb pedal good.
Value, size, quality, and other factors all play an important role. So, let’s check out some of the best reverb pedals you can find on the market!
Crucial Features You Should Have in Mind
As with any type of pedal, size is one of the first factors you should consider.
Whether you’re planning on fitting your new pedal on your already crowded pedalboard or simply don’t want it to take up too much space in your bedroom, size can often be a deal-breaking factor.
Unlike some other effects pedals, reverb pedals generally tend to be relatively small, as there are not that many parameters you can fiddle around with.
- Different Types of Effects
Reverb doesn’t cover only one kind of effect. In fact, there are 3 basic types that most guitarists use.
Hall/Room – As the name might already suggest, this kind of effect basically emulates the sound of your guitar when played in a spacious and empty room or hall.
Controls on this kind of pedal include setting the size of the “room”, with pretty much anything from a small space to a cathedral/church like effect.
Spring – This kind of effect actually utilizes a metal spring that’s vibrating, so the frequency and intensity of the vibrations get translated into the signal.
However, most pedals nowadays emulate this effect rather than actually utilizing a metal spring, so, depending on the quality of the pedal and the circuitry, you might get different results.
Plate – Much like a spring reverb pedal, a plate reverb one uses a thin metal plate, with the sound and effect sounding a bit different than the previously mentioned one.
Emulating actual plates and springs has become easier and better sounding, so if you’re looking for this kind of effect, definitely listen to some demos before buying the actual thing!
True Bypass – Keep That Natural Tone at All Times
True bypass basically means that when you switch off the pedal, the signal from your guitar isn’t affected by the pedal anymore in any way.
While this is something you’d definitely want to look for when buying other types of effects pedals, it gets a bit tricky with reverb.
The nature of the effect implies that there is going to be an echo of the notes you’re playing. So, by switching off a reverb pedal with true bypass, those echoes are simply going to be cut off in an instant, and you don’t want that.
So, what’s the bottom line, should you go with true bypass reverb pedals or not?
If you plan on using this effect at all times, this feature won’t be a problem.
If that’s not the case, consider getting a pedal with buffered bypass!
Stereo Output – Get That Extra Audio Dimension
This feature allows you to route 2 different signal lines from the pedal, giving the impression of more depth.
However, if you don’t already have other effects pedals with this feature, and don’t plan on getting one, it shouldn’t be much of a concern.
With all that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at some of the best reverb pedals you can get!
Reviews of the Best Reverb Pedals
- Biyang Rv-10
While Biyang is definitely not a brand that’s as popular as the rest of the ones on this list, their Rv-10 reverb pedal is the best model you can get if you’re on a really tight budget.
Unlike most other “around $50” pedals, the Rv-10 offers a surprisingly good performance and overall build and sound quality.
The controls are pretty simple, yet effective. The 2 knobs are used for controlling the blend and time, or the mix of the dry/wet signal and the actual length of the reverb effect.
Besides the 2 knobs, you basically get 2 small switches, one for toggling through the hall, spring, and room reverb types, and the other for 2 extra versions (dark/classic) of each of the mentioned reverb types.
The fact that the Rv-10 operates in stereo was pretty neat, as it is a very cheap model to start with.
But how does it sound?
When compared to other reverb pedals in this price range, pretty good. When compared to more expensive ones, it falls kind of short, but manages to deliver a great tone and natural effect nonetheless!
- Stereo I/O
- 3 classic reverb types x2 unique modulations
- Easy to use
- True bypass means the effect will cut off when you turn it off
- Knobs instead of the 2 little switches would’ve been better
All things considered, the Biyang Rv-10 is a great reverb pedal for anyone looking for a budget effect of this kind.
- Boss RV-6
Boss is known for making some of the most popular and best selling effects pedals on the market, and their RV-6 reverb is no exception.
As you’d expect from a Boss pedal, the RV-6 boasts a pretty compact form factor while still offering a nice range of parameter control and options.
For around $150, you get an interface that consists of 4 knobs used for setting the effect level, tone, time, as well as one for choosing between 8 different reverb types.
All of the types, which include modulate, plate, spring, room, hall, +delay, dynamic, and shimmer, sound more than decent, each with enough difference when compared to the other ones, covering pretty much any circumstance you might find yourself in, in terms of reverb.
While there are definitely pedals on the market with a better sounding emulation of the spring or plate reverb, the RV-6 still sound pretty darn good.
Having dual inputs and outputs is a neat addition which lets you play around with your signal more than most other pedals.
- Simple yet extensive controls
- 8 different reverb types
- Stereo inputs and outputs
- Buffered bypass
- Good value for the money
- The spring reverb sounds a bit too splashy
Boss once again shows that they know what they’re doing. The RV-6 is a great addition to any pedalboard.
- TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2
While the Hall of Fame 2 by TC Electronic looks like just another reverb pedal, it actually has a couple of neat tricks up its sleeve!
The build quality is exceptional, as you might already expect from a product coming from this company. The all metal build ensured a solid and long lasting user experience.
As far as the controls go, pretty much everything is covered via the 4 knobs on the top. Decay, level, tone, and reverb type, with a tiny little switch for choosing either the short or long pre-delay setting.
However, unlike the other pedals, the HoF 2 features a mash footswitch, which gives you the advantages that are similar to the ones you’d have with an expression pedal. While this is certainly an interesting feature, I wouldn’t say it’s for everyone.
The reverb presets include types such as room, hall, spring, church, and 4 other, stock ones, with a handy addition of 3 extra presets that you can pre-load using the TonePrint option which has become a widely applied feature in TC Electronic pedal.
The HoF 2 may not excel in terms of any particular preset and the audio, but with all of the different types side by side, it’s definitely one of the better pedals on the market.
- Sturdy build
- Unique sounding presets
- Additional presets through TonePrint
- Stereo I/O
- Switchable bypass feature
- The Mash feature may be too quirky for some
The HoF 2 by TC Electronic is a great choice for anyone looking for a reverb pedal with a good range of presets that all sound more than just good. The switchable bypass preset gives you the best of the 2 worlds.
- Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Nano
As the name already suggests, the Holy Grail Nano by Electro-Harmonix is a smaller version of the original pedal, that offers the exact same features and specs as its bigger brother.
The good folks at Electro-Harmonix often like to include very simplified yet effective controls, as well as a unique touch when it comes to regular effects pedals. The Holy Grail Nano is no exception.
The build quality is as solid as it can get, and you can count on this pedal to deliver a solid performance no matter how hard you push it to its limits.
The interface couldn’t be more minimalistic than this. A single knob, footswitch, and only a small toggle switch.
The knob controls the wet/dry mix, and the small toggle switch is used for selecting the spring, hall, or flerb mode. What is flerb?
Flerb is an interesting mix of flanger and reverb, and while some may find it too gimmicky, I’m sure that some of you will find a way to incorporate it in your playing.
Unfortunately, there are no stereo inputs or outputs, and the presets are pretty limited, especially considering the price of the Holy Grail Nano.
- Durable and longlasting
- Easy to use
- The effects sound superb
- A bit too expensive
- True bypass
- Limited features
The Holy Grail Nano focuses more on quality than quantity. That being said, it’s a good choice for guitarists looking for a solid tone and natural sounding reverb, that don’t really care about all the different presets.
- Digitech Polara
And finally, at number 5, we have a truly beautiful pedal, the Digitech Polara.
The amount of detail that went into making this pedal is astounding. What’s even better, it costs almost the same as most of the others that we’ve mentioned so far.
The Polara is not just about looks, as it’s very durable as well. Even the knobs feel premium.
One minor flaw I have with the design though is that the labels below the knobs are pretty hard to read, as they are the same color as the graphics.
The controls include level, decay, liveliness, and preset select.
Liveliness pretty much controls how bright the effect is, and the preset select gives you anything from room, reverse, plate, to spring and hall, for a total of 7 different types of the effect.
An additional switch allows you to either have the reverb trail off or completely stop once you’ve turned the pedal off. Definitely a handy feature.
- Beautiful design
- High-quality build
- A good range of presets
- Extensive controls
- Stereo I/O
- Great sound
- The ambient reverbs could be a bit better sounding
- Hard to read labels
Al things considered, the Digitech Polara is one of the best reverb pedals on the market, from the build quality and features to the actual sound.
Conclusion Time! Choosing the Right Pedal
While each of the previously mentioned models offers a unique and interesting approach to the reverb effect, some just perform better than the others or offer more value for the money spent.
If I had to choose, I’d go for the Digitech Polara.
This model covers all of the most commonly used reverb types, gives you a good level of control over the parameters, and simply looks and feels premium. It pretty much has everything that the other models have to offer, with something extra.
I hope that this article helped you in choosing the right reverb pedals for your needs.
At the end of the day, it’s all about you, and your personal preferences!
As always, thank you for reading, and I’ll catch you in the next one.